Measure L-Created Wrinkles for the 2016 City Council Election

crystal ball futureA friend alerted me that missing from yesterday’s post on implementing Measure L was a discussion of how many council seats will be on the ballot in 2016.

The answer is: four. Councilmembers Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman will be running for re-election in yet-to-be drawn council districts, and two new, open seats will be on the ballot.

According to the text of the Measure L charter amendment, once the four winners are sworn, they will cast lots to decide which serves only a two-year term and runs again in 2018:

Notwithstanding the term of office specified in the first paragraph of this Section 500, at the City Council meeting where these four members are sworn in, the City Council shall select by casting of lots one member elected at the November 2016 general election to hold office for a term of two years and until his or her successor qualifies; the remaining three members shall serve for a term of four years and until their successors qualify.

This is done so that going forward, there will always be three council seats on the ballot every two years. So, it is possible that either Councilmember Brandman or Kring will have to run a third time in 2018 (but for another two-year term). It begs the question of why the amendment didn’t limit the lot casting to the winners of the two newly-created council district seats.

Another wrinkle wrought by the transition to council districts: Brandman and the apparently-elected James Vanderbilt live a little over a mile from each other in the Colony, and will very likely end up in the same council district. As amended by the voters last week, the city charter states:

Commencing with the general municipal election of November 2016, the City Council members shall be residents of their respective Districts

If Brandman and Vanderbilt do wind up in the same council district, the upshot is following Jordan Brandman’s re-election from this new council district, Vanderbilt will have to move out of the neighborhood he has lived in for many years and re-locate to a different council district in order to run for re-election.

So much for “neighbors electing neighbors.”


  1. If councilmembers Brandman and Kring are reelected and one of them end up with a two year term in 2016, that councilmember will not be eligible to run for a third term in 2018. Section 503.5, Mayor and City Council Term Limitations, states, “No person shall be eligible for further election or appointment as Mayor of member of the City Council … where the term to which such person seeks election or appointment, when combined with the immediately preceding consecutive years of service by such person as defined in the preceding paragraph of this section, would exceed a total of eight consecutive years of service.”

    • Matthew Cunningham

      The implications for term limits had crossed my mind, but the loser of casting lots would be running for a two-year, rather than four-year term. As such, he/she would still only serve eight consecutive years.

      • No, that’s wrong. They would serve a term from 2012 through 2016, then if they win and draw the 2-year term, they’d serve a term from 2016 through 2018, then the following term for that council district will be four years from 2018 through 2022. If either of them have the two-year term in 2016, they will be ineligible to run in 2018 because that would take them out to 10 years of consecutive service.

        The point of doing one two year term in 2016 is to ensure that there are three council members elected every two years. The 2018 race will be for a normal four year term.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Grant – actually, I realized my error even before your follow up comment. You’re right. Assuming they’re both re-elected (a safe assumption), both Jordan and Lucille run a 25% chance of being hosed out of their final two years in office.

        • Even if Kring or Brandman draws the short straw, they can still run again in 2018. But if elected, he/she would have to resign after two years.

          If voters knew that would be the case, would a plurality still vote for him or her? That’s the question.

          • That’s not how it works. The City Clerk would not be able to accept their nomination papers if they were to try to run in 2018.

  2. Those who drafted the District charter amendment had full knowledge of its impact on all parties.

    Did Tait have anything to do with it, in concert with the city attorney to potentially screw two of his political adversaries (Brandman and Kring?)

    Did Jose Moreno, as the plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit, know this as a way to harm Disney and Republican Kring, who lives in the district that will most likely represent the Resort? That seat could be up for election two election cycles in a row.

    Did Brandman have any knowledge of this when he signed on to support Measure L and Districts – that this charter amendment may cut two years off of his political career?

    These things don’t happen by accident.

  3. Better idea, get rid of Vanderbilt. He was incompetent on the School Board and I am sure will be just as bad on City Council. Actually even a better idea, whole new blood and start over. Our City Council is not exactly knight in shining armor. More of the blind leading the blind.

  4. Matt, also, if Councilman Brandman and Councilman-elect Vanderbilt are drawn into the same district, I believe it is Councilman Brandman that will have to move if he desires to run for a second term in 2016.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Why would that be the case? Vanderbilt was elected at-large, and would have no greater claim to the district than Jordan. Since Jordan has to face the voters sooner, I’d think he’d have the better claim. Besides, the requirement to live in the district you represent doesn’t kick-in for all councilmembers until November 2016.

      Vanderbilt could decide to run against Jordan in 2016, rather than move.

      • Councilman-elect Vanderbilt will not need to run against anybody in 2016, he’ll be a sitting member of council. There is no presumption that Councilman Brandman will win reelection when assigning council districts. Councilman-elect Vanderbilt will be in the middle of his term, whichever district he is drawn in to will be his district. If another member of council who is up for reelection is drawn into the same district, that member of council will need to run in a different district or not run for reelection.

        Another way to think of it is that in the instant between Councilman Brandman’s current term and his second term if he is reelected, the districts are created. In that instant when districts are created, Councilman-elect Vanderbilt will be the sitting councilman in that district, not Councilman Brandman, since Councilman Brandman will be “between” terms. If both Councilman Brandmand and Councilman-elect Vanderbilt are drawn into the same district, Councilman Brandman will be the one that will need to move.

  5. Does this mean Council Member Elect Vanderbilt will have to move to a gangbanger neighborhood and experience first hand what it is like to have property damaged and get shot at?

  6. Mr. Herschler, where do you get off making those statements. Our council is working well and have been very committed to the entire city. What have you done to engage in our city – what actions have you taken? Audacious statements to make about our elected officials who have given more than most to the benefit of our city.

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